Last month I looked at how to grip the fly rod, this month I will look at how to make a fly cast and the basics of fly casting.
Now you don’t have to be a great caster to catch fish but you will catch more fish if your technique is good. For a beginner, being a good caster will not happen overnight, it will take time and practice just like any other sport, the more you cast the better your technique will become. With this in mind I would suggest if time permits that you get out with a fly rod four or five times a week, in a field will do or your back garden if it is big enough and put in about 15 minute practice sessions. Any longer than the 15 minutes will result in tired muscles and frustration and will be of no benefit. You will soon be reaping the rewards after a few weeks of practice.
Have a goal when you practice, don’t just go for out and out distance, concentrate more on technique and distance will come in time as your technique improves. Another good practice session would to be to put out some targets at various distances and practice hitting these, after a while you will be amazed at how your accuracy has improved which is a real bonus for the river fisherman trying to guide his fly into a tight spot between some overhanging bushes. Far better to practice like this than to just stand there and aimlessly make casts.
Don’t try and practice the roll cast on grass, it doesn’t work!! For this you need water so that the surface tension grips and anchors the “D” loop in place but grass is fine for practicing probably the more common “overhead cast”.
Here are some points to consider before your practice session:-
- Always start a cast with your line straight and with no slack, if you have slack you will not load the energy into the rod and therefore the rod will not cast the line in the desired direction.
- All fly casts work best under one main principle – smoothly accelerate the rod to an abrupt stop. Acceleration is needed to load the rod with energy, the abrupt stop is needed to transfer that energy down the line so making it move in the required direction.
- Distance will be more easily achieved with good timing than with sheer power.
- To get your hand in the right position on the back cast imagine picking up a phone to answer it, if your hand is not beside your ear it is too low.
- Push your thumb towards the target on the forward cast, the rod then the line will follow your thumb.
- When casting, the fly line will only ever follow the direction the rod is moving when it stops abruptly on the casting stroke, so bear this in mind when practicing your accuracy.
These are a few of the basic points to concentrate on, there are however many more but mostly to complex to try and describe in words without diagrams but drop me a line if you have any questions to do with casting.